Thu, 01 Sep 2016
HHJ Eady Q.C. rejected the proposition that the Tribunal’s costs warning to the Claimant during the hearing on liability prevented it from hearing the subsequent costs application in Hussain v Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust UKEATPA/0550/15/DM.
Helen Barney successfully maintained that the costs warning given by the Tribunal during a 3 week trial concerning complaints of victimisation, race and disability discrimination, did not fall foul of the dicta in Oni v NHS Leicester City  ICR 91.
In contrast to the decision in Oni, the Tribunal had not expressed concluded views on the issue of costs. A costs warning was given, no more and no less.
HHJ Eady Q.C. agreed that it was a legitimate exercise of the Tribunal’s judicial function to warn the Claimant of the risk of costs in pursuing claims that appeared fundamentally weak, having coming apart at the seams during cross-examination. Indeed, it was noted that not to do so might amount to a failing in the Tribunal’s duty to ensure that parties are placed on an equal footing pursuant to the overriding objective.
The costs warning had been given to enable the Claimant (a litigant in person) to focus and reflect on the prospect of his complaints, and did not cross the Oni line of pre-judging the issue.